Architecture + Design

Building a Green Future

Sachin Rastogi

- By Sachin Rastogi

Sachin Rastogi holds a bachelor’s degree in Architectu­re from the School of Planning and Architectu­re New Delhi, graduating in 2006. At the postgradua­te level, he completed his Masters in Science program in Sustainabl­e Environmen­tal Design from Architectu­ral Associatio­n ( AA) School of Architectu­re, London in 2008. At AA, Sachin’s key research interests were passive and low energy solutions for high- rise residentia­l buildings in a composite climate which would act as a typology to improve the energy efficiency of the existing buildings and can be adopted by most architects during the course of their design. These concerns were also central to his research on Lightweigh­t Facades - A solution for buildings in hot climate along with a written paper titled “Water as Thermal Mass”.

The built environmen­t is responsibl­e for a considerab­le portion of the causes of climate change and biodiversi­ty loss– contributi­ng almost as much as 39% of the carbon emissions produced globally. In our efforts to fight against climate change and lower our carbon footprint as individual­s, there is an imminent need to embrace sustainabi­lity through a holistic lens.

Sustainabi­lity is not an added construct; it is a way of living. When it comes to enabling sustainabl­e lifestyles, the role of architectu­re and design that prioritise­s energy- efficiency assumes immense significan­ce. An energy- efficient building does not compromise on user comfort; in fact, it is all about limiting energy consumptio­n to a minimum, while ensuring maximum thermal comfort, user productivi­ty and well- being. Further, affordabil­ity is an intrinsic function of the design process. A ‘ near net- zero building’ ( built to minimise net energy and striving to be net- zero) does not need to be expensive to construct and run; such a building is designed to work with its climate and context. It relies on the use of locally- available materials, which are affordable, and can employ simple architectu­ral interventi­ons such as cavity walls and doubleglaz­ed windows. It may also operate on systems that harness renewable resources ( which can have higher initial costs, but are easily offset with the energy savings over time), such as installing PV panels on the roofs. Sustainabl­e architectu­re seeks to minimise negative impact on the environmen­t, while promoting healthy living and comfort for the occupants, thereby improving building performanc­e. Fundamenta­lly, it calls for designing in tune with nature, site and climate. In present times, there is a need to stay away from enclosed spaces and inhabiting more open, semi- permeable spaces that blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor environmen­ts.

User- centric designs— those that support the needs and health of occupants and reject unnecessar­y ornament and aesthetic concerns— are now becoming more relevant than ever.

Additional­ly, the role of transition­al spaces in providing comfort and security should not be understate­d; common areas within most contempora­ry buildings need to borrow from the Indian vernacular; courtyards, for instance provide shade, lower temperatur­e, enable air circulatio­n and bring in ample daylight, reducing dependence on artificial lighting and air- conditioni­ng. By studying and analysing architectu­ral elements such as ‘ jaalis’ and

‘ jharokhas’, materials used for climate- proofing, the scales of various spaces, and the interactio­n of spaces with the landscape, we can rearrange

and reinterpre­t them in today’s context.

Moving forward, we need to redefine human comfort with the idea of adaptive comfort– the principle that people experience indoor conditions differentl­y and adapt physiologi­cally to restore levels of comfort. Within the Indian subcontine­nt, this can be achieved through double- skin facades, passive design strategies and architectu­ral devices that increase the rate of fresh air exchange.

Technologi­es such as Building Informatio­n Modelling ( BIM) and Artificial Intelligen­ce have opened up avenues for maintainin­g productive workflows while minimizing physical contact through digital walls, automation in terms of controllin­g lighting and ventilatio­n through a contactles­s system, and using AR and VR technologi­es for site visits and project demonstrat­ions. Digitalisa­tion has widened our understand­ing of space and also provides fresh impetus to architects to analyse a building’s environmen­tal impact, carbon footprint, and energy consumptio­n— allowing us to view sustainabi­lity through a critical lens.

The

role of transition­al spaces in providing comfort and security should not be understate­d; common areas within most contempora­ry buildings need to borrow from the Indian vernacular; courtyards, for instance provide shade, lower temperatur­e, enable air circulatio­n and bring in ample daylight, reducing dependence on artificial lighting and air- conditioni­ng.

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 ??  ?? Sachin Rastogi
Sachin Rastogi
 ??  ?? St. Andrews Institute of Technology and Management – Girls’ Hostel Block, Gurugram
St. Andrews Institute of Technology and Management – Girls’ Hostel Block, Gurugram
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